Bingo sits with Bluey in a bedroom lit with paper lanters. They are supported by actors in green jumpsuits.

Bluey, Beloved By Parents Everywhere

From the archives: this article was originally published on February 16, 2023

Bluey’s Big Play is coming to Denver, but it’s not just kids excited for the occasion, parents too love that Blue Heeler puppy and her family just as much.

Bingo and Bluey lean towards one another, supported by actors in green jumpsuits

Bluey’s Big Play. Photo by PhotoCo

“It’s one of the only shows everyone, meaning us adults, can enjoy in our house,” said parent Jessica Marquis, who is far from alone in the sentiment. In fact, ask just about any parent of a young child what they think of Bluey, and you may hear squeals and honest professions of love for the animated Australian dog and her canine crew.

“It’s kinda like the most realistic, human, day-to-day things that families with two young kids go through, but played by Heeler dogs,” said Katelynn Jackson Fisher, who has a 5-year-old and infant. “Honestly you don’t even realize they are dogs because you’re like ‘OMG, that happened to me last week.’”

The animated show started in 2018 in Australia, where it was geared toward preschoolers. But those beyond 3 and 4 have taken to it as well. In fact, from all over the world kids of all ages and their adults have found joy in the series, which centers around the dog Bluey, who lives with Bandit, her father, her mother Chilli, and younger sister, Bingo. The whole family engages in adventures and imaginative play together and with friends and family, all within each short episode. There are some tense moments too, such as the death of a little bird, parental burnout, struggling with rules and other, normal things that happen when you have a family. In other words, despite being about cartoon dogs, it’s pretty realistic.

Bingo sits with Bluey in a bedroom lit with paper lanters. They are supported by actors in green jumpsuits.

Bluey’s Big Play. Photo by PhotoCo

“The dad is so hands on and the mom is just a real mom. She hits her limits, she loves unconditionally, she hides in the closet when she needs a minute, and she teaches the girls how to be awesome beings,” said Jackson Fisher. “It’s all so relatable’ the car is messy and the kids can be wild and trying.”

In fact, she added, her husband’s biggest compliment is being compared to Bluey’s dad.

Emily Park-Friend agreed Bandit is a great character since he is “actively involved with his kids as a parent, and time spent with his kids is not considered babysitting.” She added she loved learning even more about Bluey’s family from a book her 4-year-old has that talks about the parents’ jobs. “The dad is an archeologist and the mom works in airport security, which I thought was clever and funny because those are jobs that dogs actually do, as in digging stuff up and drug and bomb sniffing.”

Mum is carrying a laundry basket, supported by actors in green jumpsuits.

Bluey’s Big Play. Photo by PhotoCo

These nuances were exactly what creator Joe Brumm wanted from his show. It’s not meant to be Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger or Barney. Kids aren’t watching a cartoon about learning to do academic things; instead, they are learning how to play, share, listen to others and think for themselves. Adults can learn from some of these scenarios too, at the very least, how to relate to their own children in some situations.

“We love that they are eight-minute episodes and the humor is spot on for the whole family while teaching all around kindness and the exhaustion of kids and parenting,” said Amy Swain, who has a two kids ages 6 and 9.

For mom Alima Blackwell, she also loves the dry comedy side. “I lived in Australia briefly right out of college and just love the Aussie sense of humor,” she said, adding she enjoys the show with her 9-year-old son. “We both laugh out loud every time we watch it.”

Bluey stands with one arm raised, supported by an actor in a green jumpsuit

Bluey’s Big Play. Photo by PhotoCo

It’s not just the humor and realistic approach to life that parents latch onto; it’s the imagination and wholesome bond Bluey and her family have. For Tara Forman and her 6-year-old, it’s all about the new games they learn to play, including Born Yesterday, Magical Xylophone, Statues, Taxi. Fairies, and Grannies. Don’t recognize them? You’ll just have to watch the show to find out why these whimsical activities resonate.

“My kiddo is 6 and being an only child, we are his playmates more than we anticipated,” said Forman. “The games they play are easy imagination games that we all have fun with.”

She also loves how the episodes are short enough that if one of them gets grumpy, they can put a show on to reset before getting back to playing.

And playing is exactly what Bluey’s Big Play is all about, which you can check out March 4 and 5 at the Buell Theatre. The brand-new theatrical adaptation features giant puppets of the Heelers, and Bingo and Blue’’s clever antics to get their dad off his chair and out fooling around with them. The child-friendly show runs 50 minutes, and, based on all the parents that love Bluey, is sure to be a treat for both kids and their adults.

Bluey’s Big Play
May 11 & 12, 2024 • Buell Theatre